GIBSON CITY - It’s been nine months since the GCMS-F wrestling team took fourth place at state.
A good portion of that squad returned to the mat last Tuesday night for the season opening duals, where the Falcons wound up splitting their matches with a win over Reed-Custer 48-12 and a loss to Clifton Central 40-31.
After controlling the matchup with Reed-Custer, GCMS-F outperformed Clifton Central by winning six matches to their opponents’ five but had to overcome a decent hole left by a few forfeits.
“I was extremely pleased with the way we competed,” Falcon coach Josh Carter said. “I knew that Clifton would be tough to beat with giving up 18 points worth of forfeits to them, but we won six of the 11 contested matches, and four of those were pins. It was a good first night and showed a few areas we need to continue to work on.”
With key members Levi Davis and Key-Shawn Girkin both out for this contest, Aaron Carter, Lane Williams and Conrad Thomas each had to bump up a weight class.
Thomas, a senior whose last wrestling match was his freshman year, took his time figuring out his opponent, before delivering the pin in 3:11 for a solid first bout back.
“For wrestling a weight above on his first night back in three years, I thought he did very well,” Carter said. “The kid from Reed-Custer was a good wrestler, but Conrad's conditioning made the difference in that match. He will continue to improve each time he steps on the mat.”
Fellow senior Tristan Smith won both of his matches with ease, despite a limited camp leading up to the match.
Smith earned a 15-0 tech fall and 13-4 major decision in his two wins.
“Tristan was at practice the Monday after football ended and slowly worked himself into being ready to compete in our first meet, which was great for our team,” Carter said.
Freshmen Dakota Matthews and Jared Trantina both earned wins in their varsity debuts, with Trantina earning a pin and Matthews earning a 4-2 decision and pinfall.
Trantina, who finished second at state last year as an eighth grader, pinned his first varsity opponent in 46 seconds.
“It was nice for (them) to pick up their first varsity wins of their careers,” Carter said. “I believe both of them will have a big role in our success as a team this year.”
Sophomore Jacob Horsch and junior Preston Braaten both earned two pins on the night. Horsch earned his wins in the 132-pound class with pins in 49 seconds and 2:41, while Braaten earned pins in 56 seconds and 3:10 in the 160-pound class.
“(Preston is) fun to watch wrestle because he is a grinder and just wears guys out,” Carter said. “You have to wrestle six hard minutes to stay with him, and a lot of guys can't do it.”
Jeremy Smolek won via 29-second pin and forfeit in the 285-pound class, while Lane Williams also earned two wins via a forfeit and 6-4 decision.
Aaron Carter had a 13-3 major decision win in his first match and barely fell 5-4 in the final minute of his second match after tying it up late.
The Falcons travel to Bismarck-Henning on Thursday, Dec. 3, and will return home the following Thursday.
At Gibson City
GCMS-F over Reed-Custer 48-12
106 double forfeit
113 double forfeit
120 Dakota Matthews (G) dec. Miller 4-2
126 Peters (R) pinned Branden Blanck 2:39
132 Horsch (G) pinned Shepherd :49
138 double forfeit
145 Nagel (R) pinned Kyrel Patton 2:33
152 Jared Trantina (G) pinned Tribble :46
160 Preston Braaten (G) pinned Wilson :56
170 Aaron Carter (G) maj. dec. Milburn 13-3
182 Lane Williams (G) forfeit
195 Conrad Thomas (G) pinned Costain 3:11
220 Tristan Smith (G) tech fall Branum 15-0
285 Jeremy Smolek (G) forfeit
Clifton Central over GCMS-F 40-31
106 Painter (CC) forfeit
113 Matthews (G) pinned Kooyenga 1:16
120 Konetski (CC) forfeit
126 Raines (CC) maj. dec. Blanck 11-3
132 Horsch (G) pinned Thorne 2:41
138 Lyons (CC) forfeit
145 Krumwiede (CC) pinned Patton :37
152 Pace (CC) dec. Trantina 10-5
160 Braaten (G) pinned Willis 3:10
170 Jacob Smith (CC) dec. Carter 5-4
182 Williams (G) dec. Coggins 6-4
195 Love (CC) pinned Thomas 1:56
220 Smith (G) maj. dec. Schafer 13-4
285 Smolek (G) pinned Reed :29